Of all the surprising news over the past few days, it was the origin of the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” that caught me off guard. For nearly four decades I was convinced that the song was about the drug LSD. Why? Because my friends, cool neighbors, all-knowing aunts and uncles, older cousins and even my babysitter all corroborated the canard that the song was Lennon’s and McCartney’s tribute to psychedelic drugs. While Lennon held claim that the song was not about LSD, McCartney stirred the pot by saying it was indeed. I never, not once, heard of the other origin of the song — though like all great viral marketing, you might hear what you want to hear. The word of mouth was so strong that I not only believed in the “LSD version” of the song, but the scandalous nature of this information spread under the radar and over the hills of my white-picket-fenced Baltimore neighborhood and made me want to listen to the song all the more. This was truly viral marketing at its best. Of course, as a grade schooler in the ’60s, Word of Mouth did not contain a capital W and M. It was what it was — one person spreading information to the next, and so on and so on. The truth about the song — based on John Lennon’s son Julian, 4 years old at the time, drawing a picture of his classmate Lucy O’Donnell and telling his dad it was Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – was revealed in the wake of Lucy’s premature death on Sept 29 from lupus. Perhaps it was serendipity that the initials of Lucy, Sky and Diamond matched LSD. Either way, this blog entry is a tribute to the power of Word of Mouth Marketing: a legal drug for communicators world-wide.
— Diane Schwartz